Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I've Been Working out of Town

I've been out of town for ten days or so making some money which my wife appreciates. When I'm in town blogging isn't my first priority especially since no one seems to be reading based on comment activity. If you read We're Open All Night please comment so I can tell. Meanwhile I'll keep writing for my own pleasure. Wish I was Jim Gerrahityy at NRO or one of the Powerline Guys. Maybe someday.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Maybe We Should Be More Like the Gouveneur

"Gouveneur Morris's political quiescence during this period ...[the first decade of the nineteenth century]... sprang from a cheery pessimism. He thought the affairs of the nation were in the hands of incompetent men with bad principles, and this made him easy of mind and light of heart." Richard Brookhiser thus describes the State of the Founding Father who penned the Constitution in his book Gentlemen Revolutionary.

Some who don't like the outcome of America's last exercise in Democracy conducted November 04,'04 are trying to move to Canada. Others are ranting or seeking therapy for election selection trauma. These people (and all of us) could take a page from the Gouvenuer's book. His was a time when the Vice-President Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in duel over politics. Politicians were bludgeoned with walking sticks on the floor of Congress. The Gouvenuer (sort of like the Donald [trump] kept his equilibrium by trusting in the people and providence. He had faith in the new Democracy which was the U.S.A..

Two Hundred years later we can see that this Founding Father's faith was not missplaced. The "incompetent men with bad principles" such as Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison managed to muddle through without wrecking the country. Shouldn't we have more faith in our political institutions, our Constitution and our people. Right now my side is winning but I grew up in a country that was controlled by a Democratic Congress for forty years. President JFK and v.p. LBJ were put in office by the phantom voters of Mayor Richard Daily's Chicago, or so some of my parent's more partisan friends maintained.

I assume that I will see the day when the Democrat's are back on top at least for the short run maybe put in office by the phantom voters of Seattle Washington or Milwaukee Wisconsin*. When that happens I plan on taking my lead from the Govenuer. Maybe the Dems would like to try it today.

* as reported today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"Citywide, for instance, there were 277,535 votes cast in the election, yet only 269,212 people recorded in the computer as voting, a gap of about 8,300.

The 7,000 figure has been used, since the 1,300 registration cards that couldn't be processed have not had voter names entered into the computer system."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Evangelicals aren't for the environment??

Powerline is reporting that Bill Moyer's gave a speech defaming former Interior Secretary James Watt by claiming Watt gave Testimony to a Congressional Committee to the effect that we could destroy all the trees because Christ was about to return. This slander was perpetrated in order to support the argument that Evangelicals (Moyers calls us Fundamentalists not surprisingly) don't care about the environment because we await the imminent return of Jesus. Apparently the Washington post picked up the slander and republished it claiming that Mr. Watt "famously " made the remark implying it was well known that the Secretary made such a remark before a committee of Congress. Secretary Watt called Powerline to disavow the story. In the past Secretary Watt would have little recourse except to go to the MSM and hope for the best. Now he can turn to Time Magazine's 2004 Blog of the Year for recourse.

Bill Moyer's is an ordained minister with a degree from Seminary and ought to know better but the idea that Biblical world view is inconsistent with protecting the environment though wrong is not new. In 1974 as a student teacher teaching a ninth grade biology class I was subjected to a man on a pull down screen telling me, and worse my students, that Genesis required man to have dominion over the earth which he interpreted as pillaging it. This man in a red plaid shirt indicated that the right approach was that of the Native American many of whom practiced slash and burn agriculture moving and destroying the forest as their corn and tobacco crops ravaged the soil. Mr. red plaid shirt was wrong about Native Americans and about Genesis which calls for stewardship of the earth. Bill Moyers continues in that legacy.

[update]Feb. 07,2004 noon EST according to Powerline The Washington Post has made an appropriatte correction.

"Today's Washington Post carries this straightforward correction:

A Feb. 6 article quoted James G. Watt, interior secretary under President Ronald Reagan, as telling Congress in 1981: "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." Although that statement has been widely attributed to Watt, there is no historical record that he made it.
The online version of the original story by Blaine Harden now includes the correction above the story"

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Thoughts on Society and the Bible

I have been thinking that before I continue my posts on the President’s proposals for Social Security or any specific policy I want to share with you some thoughts on the underlying framework for my analysis of any political or social question. At least part of my thinking about society in general and the role of government in particular is based (like Martin Luther in his defence at the Diet of Worms [and we think the Adkins diet is restrictive]) on the Bible and reason. I am not a Bible scholar though I read it regularly. I rely on what I call Christian orthodoxy for some of what I believe the Bible teaches. As to reason I rely on common sense, to the extent I’m blessed with common sense, and logic as taught in the University, Law School, Court Rooms, and Streets of this good old USA as I have experienced them.

I have been told ( by a Lawyer from the Christian Legal Society I think but can’t provide further attribution) and believe that God ordained four Institutions: The Individual(Gen 1:26), the Family(Gen 2:24), the Church(Mat 16:18), and the State (Rom 13:1). Each institution has a set of responsibilities in society which God has ordained for it to carry out and for which it is best suited, Ideally society works best if the institution that has responsibility for a function performs that function or is in control of it. Some of these functions are, control of the individual, the raising, nuturing and education of children, care of the elderly or disabled, protection of the individual, and the guarantee of certain God given rights pertaining to said individual, This list is not exhaustive it is sufficient for starters. I welcome comments on these thoughts and I will expand on them so keep watching this Blog. Remember We’re Open All night.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Thoughts on Social Security part I

President Bush is pressing toward his Ownersip society by asking Congress to fundamentally alter the structure of Social Security for the "younger worker".
Basically the presidents proposal would allow younger Americans to choose not to pay up to 4% of the 7 1/2% they now pay in Social Security payroll tax. Instead they would put that 4% into an account that could be invested in relatively conservative investments. When the worker retired he would (presumably although I have not seen this spelled out yet) recieve less Social Security benefit but would have that benefit supplemented by payments out of this account. How the reduction in payroll taxes paid would effect potential disability or survivor benefits is unclear. I plan several posts on this subjcct. My initial thoughts:
At first it would seem to be a bold step taken by President Bush to touch the "third rail of American politics" and that impression is bolstered by the knee jerk reaction of the seemingly all powerfull AARP (a group I refuse to join because of their selfish and bullying politics). Actually it is a brilliant move for aeveral reasons.

1. President Bush can't be hurt by this proposal because he never has to stand for reelection.
2. Even if the proposal is defeated now the try will put him in good stead with History. Social Security must eventually be changed or die and it only gets tougher later. If the President fails he will get the credit for trying when that failure puts Social Security in an untenable position in future years.
3. If the President is sucessfull it will reduce the power of the welfare mentallity that says we must suckle at the teat of the Federal goverment for our security

Thursday, February 03, 2005

It's been a while, I'm Back

It has been a while since I posted on We're Open All Night(WOAN). I killed my other blog "Right Hand Clapping" so that I could concentrate on WOAN. I am going to try to post every day in case anyone ever reads this. I know My youngest daughter reads it every once in a while. For her and the rest of my readers if any I'm back.